Pod of Drawers
Property from an International Private Collection
Pod of Drawers


Pod of Drawers
Marc Newson (b. 1963)
hand-beaten and cut aluminum panels, riveted to fiberglass structure, fitted with five drawers, painted wood feet
50 3/8 x 28 x 18¼ in. (128 x 71 x 46 cm.)
Designed in 1987, executed prior to 1990.
Acquired from the artist, 1990
Tyrone Dearing Collection, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owner
M. Romanelli, "Marc Newson: Progetti tra il 1987 e 1990," Domus, vol. 714, March 1990, p. 67 (another example illustrated).
A. Rawsthorn, Marc Newson, London, 1999, pp. 22-23 (another example illustrated).
H. Jay, "Rising Design Stars," Art and Antiques, vol. XXIX, no. 4, April 2001, p. 61 (another example illustrated).
S. Crafti, Request, Response, Reaction: The Design of Australia & New Zealand, Victoria, 2002, p. 86 (another example illustrated).
C. L. Morgan, Marc Newson, London, 2003, p. 166 (another example illustrated).
B. Salmon, ed., Masterpieces of the Museum of Decorative Arts Paris, Paris, 2006, pp. 206-207 (another example illustrated).

Lot Essay

The present Pod Of Drawers will be included as 'MN - 12PDB - 1987' in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of limited editions by Marc Newson, currently being prepared by Didier Krzentowski of Gallery Kreo, Paris.

In 1986 at the age of 23, Australian-born Marc Newson exhibited his now iconic Lockheed Lounge, a dynamic and energetic form that represented a stylistic breakthrough from the high-tech constructivism that characterised mainstream 1980s design. Created from sculpted fibreglass, the organic form was covered with thin non-overlapping sheets of aluminum, blind-rivetted to the shell. The Lockheed represented a vision that was subtly antique yet strikingly futuristic, allied to the streamlined fantasy aesthetic of Ken Adam's set designs, or Stanley Kubrik's stylised vision for 2001.

Shortly after the sale of the prototype Lockheed to Australia's National Gallery of Victoria, Newson moved to London where he began to work upon the chaise's companion design, the Pod of Drawers, in 1987. The Pod and the Lockheed share a metallic, visual weightlessness and a rounded, hourglass form that was once described as resembling "a giant blob of mercury." Newson had originally envisaged that his surfaces be entirely sheathed in a seamless coat of aluminum, however had concluded that the only way to adhere the metal was by laborious and detailed handcraft. During his studies at Sydney College of the Arts, Newson had studied sculpture and jewellery design. This training taught him how to use metals and to construct three-dimensionally, and crucially, how to modify available resources. Newson has commented that, as an Australian geographically distant from mainstream technical processes, a "do-it-yourself" necessity for improvisation is a particularly Australian approach to problem-solving. The present lot is one of the earliest examples of the Pod of Drawers, and features a radial arrangement of numerous tiny and delicate fragments of metal each filed, applied and polished by hand. Subsequent examples have tended to featured larger rectangular panels.

Newson named his Lockheed in homage to the Machine-Age aesthetic of the American aircraft manufacturer. His decision to produce a chaise, a relatively uncommon furniture type in the late twentieth century, was loosely motivated by Jacques-Louis David's 1800 Portrait of Madame Recamier, and in keeping with his jewellery training, suggested that furniture could be considered as body adornment. The Pod of Drawers again owed inspiration to historical European forms, and for this design Newson chose to reconsider the French master cabinetmakers of the early Art Deco period, in particular the anthropomorphic creations of André Groult. For a progressive and youthful designer in the late 1980s, this represents a highly individual point of reference, and it is precisely this synthesis of the Antique with the Modern that infuses Newson's early experimental creations with their magnetism. Exhibited at the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs of 1925, Groult's chiffonier featured a vertical arrangement of slender drawers within an undulating bombé profile, the surfaces applied with a radically-veneered display of luxurious sharkskin panels. Newson redefines the surface using aluminium segments with pronounced rivets, and invests the form with a visual athleticism suggestive of the human body. With the Pod's surface, Newson has mastered the decorative potential of the technique he improvised for the Lockheed and has created a luminescent, bespoke cabinet that acknowledges its precedents in form and technique, yet offers radical departure in terms of material, texture and context.

Tyrone Dearing, an Australian decorative art and design dealer, was introduced to Marc Newson in 1990 and acquired the present Pod of Drawers for his personal collection. A year later, the current owner met Dearing at his Sydney gallery Decadence and the two quickly became friends. Shortly after their initial meeting, Dearing agreed to sell the Pod to his friend and the piece was shipped to its new home in Madrid. This was just the first of many homes for the Pod, as it was one of only a few objects which followed the owner to other residences in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

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